What a difference a few weeks makes at the club, at the end of 2020 there was some disbelief and discontent in the fan base after a humiliating 4-1 home defeat against MK Dons. Fast forward to 09/01/2021 an away win on the tv away at Ipswich with a wondergoal from the returning Scott Twine and that Swindon Town could escape the drop back to the league they worked so hard to get out off. Staying in this league is essential and after the Ipswich win there is some fighting spirit left in the side.
There was a bit of freshness into the side that won away at Ipswich Town on Saturday evening, Matt Palmer, Scott Twine made their comebacks after the loan deals at Wigan Athletic ended and for Twine Swindon activated the loan clause to bring him back to the CG. Dominic Thompson and Mark Travers made their debuts for the club after signing on loan from Bournemouth and Brentford. Jordan Lyden came back and made his first start for the club since the Charlton League Cup game in September. Dion Conroy after filling in a defensive midfield role slotted back to the centre back along side Zeki Fryers. There was balance in this side and the team looked more comfortable in the 4-3-3 set up with Scott Twine playing as a no 8 and Matt Palmer playing out wide in a free role and done his defensive work well. Both look rejuvenated and that helped Swindon Town in picking up away since the Oxford United win and ending the bad run of form.
Dominic Thompson was the standout for me away at Ipswich Town, a strong combative performance at left back and picked up a hat-trick of assist. People on social media were questioning his signing comparing his signing to a former Arsenal left back which came to Swindon Town with all the hype and delivered. I know it was one game, but I saw a lot in Thompson and that he could be a real asset to this in the latter part of the season.
The same goes to Scott Twine who has been tearing it up in League Two with Newport County. Came back into the Swindon Town Xi and played in the No8 role and picked up where he left off in Newport. Had one sighter on goal and did not disappoint with his second effort with a wondergoal from close to thirty yards out swirling into the top corner. I feel he could thrive playing in this role with Jordan Lyden and Matt Smith beside him. Talks are going for a new contract and hope there is good news on the front in the next week or so that Scott Twine has signed a new deal for the club.
My Predicted XI 4-3-3
Travers, Caddis, Conroy, Fryers, Thompson, Lyden, M.Smith, Twine, Palmer, Jaiyesimi, Pitman
Doncaster Rovers are sitting in 4th position in the League One Table with 33 points from 18 games played, goal difference ahead of Peterborough, Accrington Stanley and Charlton Athletic. It is quite tight from 4th to 8th with one point separating Doncaster in 4th and Ipswich Town in 8th.
Like many other clubs, Doncaster Rovers are going into this game lacking match practise, after league matches called off during the Christmas and New Year period called off due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The re-arranged game against Oxford United for the 05th of January was also called off. Doncaster Rovers last game in the league was the 22nd of December which was a 1-0 home defeat to Shrewsbury Town, with Aaron Pierre netting the winner for the away side. That was on the back of 4 straight wins in a row over Northampton Town, Swindon Town, Gillingham and Burton Albion. Doncaster Rovers did cause an upset in the FA Cup as they knocked out Blackburn Rovers of the Championship at Ewood Park. Taylor Richards was the hero that day with the only goal of the game three minutes before half time.
The three players to watch out for at Doncaster Rovers are Reece James, who proved to a thorn in Swindon Town side when the teams last met in December. James who can play at LB, LM and in the Centre of Midfield was the hero for the home side with two goals at the Keepmoat Stadium in the 2-1 home win for Doncaster Rovers over Swindon Town. In the league this season James has scored 5 goals from 18 games.
Ben Whiteman who picked up an assist for one of Reece James goals against Swindon Town back in December is the second player to watch out for. Whiteman has been ever present in the Doncaster Rovers side in the league campaign, starting all 18 leagues games and amassing 1620 minutes played. Ben Whiteman has been involved in 10 goals for Doncaster Rovers, scoring 5 and assisting 5, he was on the scoresheet and picked up an assist in Doncaster Rovers last league win over Burton Albion on the 22nd of December.
The third and final player to look out for is attacker Fejiri Okenabirhie who can play out wide on the left-hand side or play in the centre forward role. 4 goals and 1 assist in 17 league games played this season. that included a goal and an assist in Doncaster Rovers win at Burton. 11 starts and 6 appearances on the bench, Okenabirhie has played most of the season as the centre forward for Darren Moore side, bar the last game at home to Shrewsbury where he was given the LW role in a 4-2-3-1.
Saturday’s game is the real acid test for Swindon Town, can they make it two wins in a row to start of 2021 against two of the play off contenders. Or was just Saturday away win over Ipswich was just papering over the cracks.
Preview by Scot Munroe